6.30pm ToryDiary: It's time to threaten the Lib Dems with Mutually Assured Destruction
Noon Gavin Barwell MP on Comment: What can Conservatives do to increase our support among black and minority ethnic communities?
Margot James MP on Comment: My colleague Daniel Kawczinski is wrong, wrong, wrong about UK Trade and Investment
Britain should stay “a privileged partner” outside of the EU… says Jacques Delors – The Times (£)
Jacques Delors concedes it might be time for Britain to leave: "“If
the British cannot support the trend towards more integration in
Europe, we can nevertheless remain friends, but on a different basis. I
could imagine a form such as a European economic area or a free trade
agreement.” – The Sun
Cameron told that EU leaders won't agree to renegotiation and he might therefore leave EU 'by accident'
"Lord Kerr of Kinlochard – who was at the heart of Britain's team during the Maastricht treaty negotiations in 1991 – fears the UK is facing "bust-up time" with the other 26 EU countries. He is one of a group of pro-Europeans, including Lords Heseltine, Mandelson and Brittan, expressing their concerns that Cameron is miscalculating Europe's determination to keep the current EU project intact, without the UK if necessary." – Guardian
- David Cameron plan to opt out of EU policing laws 'will allow criminals to run free', says EU Justice Commissioner – Telegraph
- The SNP has accused the Conservative Party of infighting that is jeopardising Scotland's place in the EU – The Herald
Cameron defended Britain’s "colossal" £11billion foreign aid bill yesterday as he came under renewed pressure to curb government spending on international development – Express
"Only 6 per cent of people in the Ipsos-Mori poll strongly disagreed with the idea that foreign aid is wasted. A further 20 per cent tended to disagree with the statement. Together the total of 26 per cent is little more than a quarter of the public. But 61 per cent said that development money is being wasted." – Daily Mail
The Sun attacks Cameron on aid: "David Cameron’s justification for defiantly increasing our overseas aid budget in these grim times is arrogant and disingenuous. He rightly talks up Brits as an “incredibly generous” people whose track record of giving to charity appeals is second to none. But he appears to think this entitles him to dole out billions more he has compulsorily seized from us in tax."
> Yesterday's Audio: Interviewed by Melinda Gates, David Cameron insists he'll keep his promises to the world's poorest
State school quotas for universities face axe following protests – Telegraph
Prince Charles meets Michael Gove and eleven other ministers in 2012
"Prince Charles has held private meetings with eight government ministers in the last 12 months, including Michael Gove, the education secretary, and Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury. Palace records show he also met with ministers with responsibility for defence, culture and further education, as well as top civil servants involved in British defence interests in the Middle East and the UK economy." – Guardian
"Why has the Coalition done absolutely nothing to support the institution of marriage?"
Angry Daily Mail leader: "Strong families are potent bulwarks against totalitarian and over-mighty states. Strong families provide their own welfare, education and personal care systems. That is why the Mail urges Mr Cameron to make his New Year’s resolution to stop worrying about gay marriage and do everything he can to support the family – which is under attack as never before in Britain."
British children are less likely to live with both parents than in any other major Western nation – Daily Mail
This Chancellor is no thrift-crazed axeman – Jeff Randall urges George Osborne to cut faster – Telegraph
Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry says UK won't follow US in exploiting shale gas on similar scale, for environmental and commercial reasons – Times (£)
Tory-controlled Peterborough Council wants to erect 500,000 panels and nine giant wind turbines on 900 acres of prime agricultural land – Daily Mail
Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's former spin-doctor, targets the lack of a Number 10 Comms operation
"The deeper concern would be if – Grant Shapps aside – any ministers and advisers are genuinely feeling that weary or deflated just two and a half years into their term in office. Because, as the Labour Party found – albeit much later on – the real danger comes once the attitude that says you can’t be bothered to mount a Boxing Day media operation seeps into your approach to late-night calls on a Friday or Revenue attempts to tax turkeys. It’s what makes you careless about whether the PM’s still got his microphone live in the back of the car, or whether that email you’re about to send is very wise." – Damian McBride in The Independent
Lord Dobbs: 1982's Cabinet papers reveal Margaret Thatcher's steel
"As prime minister you loved her or hated her, and sometimes I managed both. She was energy, action and outrage, a woman who stood up to her enemies and sometimes even throttled her friends. And as the official papers just released under the 30-year rule reveal, 1982 was her year of destiny. It was a year in which she fought the Argentines, kicked the French, intimidated the Americans and made mincemeat of the Dean of St Paul’s. She also cried a lot." – Michael Dobbs in The Express
Liberal Democrats made 'unrealistic promises' to voters, admits Jeremy Browne – Telegraph
So, Mr Farage, why does UKIP's leader have a German wife? …and did she make you kip in the spare room over that 'seven-times-a night fling' with a Latvian?
The Daily Mail publishes an extended profile/ interview with the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage…
- "David Cameron? 'Agghh, so shallow – the bland leading the bland. I have no respect for him.'
- Ed Miliband? 'Soooo boring and geeky – he's spent his whole life sitting around the kitchen table talking politics!'
- Nick Clegg? 'Nice enough, but what's the point? You have to admit, there's a bit of a gap in the market right now, isn't there?"
Has inequality become too extended in Britain? – Matthew Parris in The Times (£)
Rightwing politicians like to capitalise on economic and political chaos – seeing it as a chance to roll back the state – Neal Lawson in The Guardian
Jimmy Carr, Starbucks and the rest reminded us you can be filthy rich yet morally bankrupt – Tim Dowling in The Guardian
2012 was the year that the divide between the people and the powerful became dangerously wide – Dominic Sandbrook in the Daily Mail
The Times (£) pays tribute to America's role in the world: "America is a fallible actor in global affairs. But it remains, in the words of Madeleine Albright, the indispensable nation. In an anarchic world order lacking a central sovereign authority, it is the guarantor of global public goods, such as collective security and the world’s reserve currency. Those who decry US influence should be wary of what they wish for. Many more problems result from America’s absence than from its interventions."
Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to pay 36m euros (£30m) a year to his ex-wife Veronica Lario – BBC
And finally… Simon Heffer's tongue-in-cheek predictions for 2013 (at least we think they're tongue-in-cheek)…
"The eating of burgers in public places in banned for health reasons, with leading doctors expressing their concern about ‘passive eating’. Scores of heroes return home from Afghanistan to receive redundancy notices, while African dictators go on another Mercedes-buying binge with their latest Treasury overseas aid cheques." – More in the Daily Mail.
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